Global products or customization to different countries: Conceptual framework and application at Wahler, A german company Of the automotive sector

Ailton Conde Jussani, Eduardo Pinheiro Gondim de Vasconcellos


Competition in global markets demands product strategies that can help firms deal with the dilemma of global products versus customization, in serving the markets of different countries. Global products lead to large scales, automation, lower costs, plus the easy transfer of people and technology among many subsidiaries, as well as between corporate headquarters and the subsidiaries. However, the lack of customization makes it difficult to gain share in countless market segments, in many countries, and it may even stop a firm from entering in certain countries. This study outlines a model designed to facilitate this type of decision-making. First, based on the literature, a conceptual model was drawn up and the decision-related elements were grouped into seven factors that aid product customization decisions: 1. Market Positioning; 2. Customers’ strategic importance; 3. Product life-cycle development; 4. Legal requirements; 5. Physical environment; 6. Infrastructure and compatibility; and 7. Suppliers’ strategic importance. The case method was used, given the complex nature of the problem, which calls for an in-depth analysis. The model was tested on one of the products made a German company with a Brazilian subsidiary. The components of the valve and the technological trends were analyzed. The case study showed that the influencing factors are interrelated. It became clear that the technological component is directly related with the seven decision factors, and this aspect is analyzed in depth. Nevertheless, further studies are necessary to validate the model, since the case method does not allow one to generalize the findings.


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